Datasets Available from UNEP-WCMC: Excluding WDPA
Access to UNEP-WCMC datasets is provided on the understanding that you read and consent to be bound by the Terms and Conditions attached. For the purposes of this Agreement the “Data” comprise any of the spatial data and associated attribute data downloadable from the UNEP-WCMC website, excluding the World Database on Protected Areas.
The purpose of the work, which began in 1976, was to show how the national forests of the United States fit within the global ecoregional scheme. In this system an ecoregion is defined as any large portion of the Earth's surface over which the ecosystems have characteristics in common. There are three levels in this classification system, the Domains, the Divisions and the Provinces.
Ecoregions of the continents are based on macroclimate (i.e., the climate that lies just beyond the local modifying irregularities of landform and vegetation). The theory behind the approach is that macroclimates are among the most significant factors affecting the distribution of life on Earth. As the macroclimate changes, the other components of the ecosystem change in response. Macroclimates influence soil formation and help shape surface topography, as well as affecting the suitability for human habitation.
Four Domains were defined: Polar, Humid temperate, Humid tropical and Dry. The combination of temperature and rainfall to indicate major climatic zones was based on Köppen and Trewartha's work, where dry climates were treated as a separate entity from Tropical humid and Temperate humid. However, the Köppen system defines an addtional "Subtropical" division at this level.
The next level in the Bailey system is the Divisions, and these are also climate - based, for example in the Humid temperate Domain there is Hot continental, Warm continental, Subtropical, Marine, Prairie and Mediterranean, all with Mountain variants (i.e., a total of 12 Divisions in this Domain). There are a total of 30 of these.
The third and last level are the Provinces, which are based on physiognomy of vegetation, modified by climate. For example, the Forest-Meadow of Eastern Oceanic (Monsoon climate). There are a total of 98 of these subdivisions.
The global map has been digitised and converted to a geographic (lat/long) projection by the WCMC, Cambridge, UK. It is also available on CD from NOAAs National Geophysical Data Center in Boulder, Colorado as part of their Global Ecosystem Database Project. http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/Store/.Resource Type: Spatial Data / Maps
As the importance of mountain spaces is more widely recogised, it seems necessary to establish a coherent definition of these spaces. The UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) proposed the first global delineation in 2000. However, certain European countries have used national definitions of mountain spaces since the 1950s. Within the framework of social and economic integration policies at the heart of the European Union, an agreed delineation of European mountain spaces has been established, based on the definition proposed by UNEP-WCMC. The process of adaptation of the global definition to the European context is described, as well as the results for 29 European countries.Resource Type: Journal Papers
Although Asian bamboo species constitute a non-timber forest product of major cultural and economic importance, no detailed regional assessment of their distribution patterns has previously been made. To assess the potential of the existing bamboo species distribution data for production of regional mapping tools for planning the conservation of forest-based biodiversity, data on bamboo distribution and forest cover were combined. Over 1000 bamboo species from 60 genera of woody bamboos were incorporated, allowing the mapping of individual species or groups of species and genera, along with potential species richness and biodiversity hotspots. Over 6.3 million km2 of Asian forest potentially contains bamboo, with highest densities indicated from northeastern India through Burma to southern China, and through Sumatra to Borneo. The highest figures for potential species richness (144 spp per square km) were recorded in forests of south China, including Hainan Island. Despite substantial inadequacies and inconsistencies in knowledge of the taxonomy and distribution of bamboo species, this approach may provide a valuable tool for planning in situ conservation of forest biodiversity.Resource Type: Journal Papers
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